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CLE safety forces called 1,300 times to Cuyahoga homeless women's shelter in 2016

EMS, police, fire called to Norma Herr shelter
Posted: 6:49 PM, Mar 14, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-14 22:49:19Z
CLE safety forces: 1300 calls to women's shelter
CLE safety forces: 1300 calls to women's shelter
CLE safety forces: 1300 calls to women's shelter
CLE safety forces: 1300 calls to women's shelter
CLE safety forces: 1300 calls to women's shelter

The N.E. Ohio Coalition for the Homeless believes more than 1,300 calls to Cleveland EMS, police and fire to the Norma Herr Women's shelter is an indication further changes are needed at the facility.

The shelter provides housing and food and more to 140 to 200 homeless women every night.

However, Coalition Director Brian Davis, and some homeless women who stay there, believe safety at the facility needs to be improved.

Davis pointed to statistics from the City of Cleveland that showed Cleveland EMS was called to Norma Herr 690 times in 2016 alone.  Police were called to the Payne Avenue facility 409 times, and there were 237 calls for the fire department.

"I think that the number of EMS and police calls is amazing and taxpayers should be outraged," said Davis.

"The shelter I don't think is safe. I think many of the women will say that there are place within the shelter that they don't feel safe."

Davis believes adding trained medical staff at the shelter will improve service and reduce calls to EMS.

Davis is also calling for improvements in the daily operation at the shelter to improve safety.

But Cuyahoga County Homeless Services Manager Ruth Gillett told News 5 improvements at the Norma Herr shelter are being made, and she believes calls for EMS and police at the facility don't indicate a safety issue.

Gillett said a new service contract at the shelter will be signed in the coming weeks, and managerial staff at the facility will be changed

"We will continue to see what we can do to make sure the environment feels safe to all the women that are there," said Gillett.

"All the staff have been trained, and will continue to be trained in conflict resolution, and de-escalation techniques."

"There will be a change in some of the management, operating management at the shelter."

Still, Davis said he believes each call for safety services to the shelter costs taxpayers about $500, and maintains more than 1300 calls for service in 2016 indicates more improvements must be made.